Behind the Bathrooms

This is The Novalé Podcast: ‘Behind the Bathrooms’, where we talk about Bathrooms, Business and everything in-between. Join Steve Novkovic and Ben Le as they discuss various topics aimed at elevating the industry and improving the quality of people’s bathrooms.


March 30, 2021

10: The Story of Novalé (pt. 1) - Starting the Business with Steve Novkovic (Director)

Novalé Bathrooms has been around for 12 years. The business has actually been around for longer in different shapes and forms. And yet, Steve believes Novalé is just getting started. The team is growing, the office is expanding and the jobs keep flowing. But it's always been intriguing on how and why Steve started the business, as well as his story. How did Steve start Novalé? Was it a smooth transition from tiling? How did he gain success early and use that to grow? How much did his business rely on referrals? How did he build his team? Why did he take his time to grow? 


Join Ben and Steve on this episode of the Story of Novalé pt. 1 - Starting the Business.


What we discuss in this episode:

- Steve's early career as a tiler

- Working with his father

- Managing jobs at the age of 16

- Learning how to do give a great customer experience from his uncle in war-torn Croatia

- The slow transition to doing bathroom renovations

- Bathroom renovator vs. bathroom renovations company

- How did he learn how to start and run a business?

- What was his team at this point?

- Would he have done it any differently if he could do it again?

- Final words


Novale Instagram - @novalebathrooms

Novale Facebook - /novalebathrooms

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March 11, 2021

09: How to Grow Your Business Sustainably with Nasser Abdu (JFC Advisory)

Growing your business can mean a lot of things. It can be growing in sales. It can be expanding the product and service offerings. It can even be building the team. But how often do you think about the fundamentals? The systems, policies and procedures that enable you to run the business without you needing to be there? Could you take a 7 week holiday to Europe (like Steve did with Novalé Bathrooms) whilst still being able to keep the business running? Our guest on this is episode is Nasser Abdu, a business advisor whom helps organisations grow and expand whilst keeping the operations and fundamentals effectively sound. This episode Nasser will explain why growing your business sustainably means perfecting the fundamentals and building a system, rather than just generating more sales.


Join Nasser, Ben and Steve on this episode to learn how to grow your business sustainably.


What we discuss:

- Nasser's early career and education

- Why there is no 'perfect' moment to start a business

- When did Nas meet Steve?

- What does a business advisor do?

- What does a business consultant do?

- What does a business coach do?

- What systems, policies and procedures need to be refined in order to grow

- Why you need to document processes

- Final words


Novalé Instagram - @novalebathrooms

Novalé Facebook - /novalebathrooms

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February 22, 2021

08: How to Keep Your Subcontractor Happy with Wayne Vassallo (All Points Glass)

As contractors, we are always focusing on giving a great customer experience. But how often have we thought about how to give subcontractors the same satisfaction? As subcontractors how do you make sure you're helping out the contractors? And most of all, how can contractors and subcontractors work together to give the customer the best experience? This episode we have glazier Wayne Vassallo from All Points Glass to share his insight on how to keep subbies happy. Wayne has been in the trade for 35 years, taking over his father in the glazing business. Wayne installs shower screens for Novalé Bathrooms as well as more than 100 contractors in NSW. 

Join Wayne, Ben & Steve on this episode to learn about how to keep subcontractors happy.


What we discuss with Wayne Vassallo:

- Wayne's early beginnings into glazing

- What is glazing?

- How did Wayne meet Steve?

- What simple things can contractors do to keep customers and subbies happy?

- Mistakes that subbies do on the job

- What to do when things go wrong in a job?

- Why you need to fix things straight away for the customer

- Final words.


Novalé Bathrooms Instagram - @novalebathrooms

Novalé Bathrooms Facebook - /novalebathrooms

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February 5, 2021

07: How to Use Your Numbers to Achieve Your Business Goals

All business owners are abundant in hard work and passion, but how many are well versed in strategy and metrics? Many just hope they are doing the right thing, but how do you know? How can you calculate the impact of your decisions and processes? How can you forecast future performance? How do know when you're getting your next client? How do you know if you're pricing your work correctly? How do you know if you're growing enough?

Join Ben Le and Steve Novkovic from Novalé Bathrooms, who break down the numbers of running a successful business.


Episode Notes:

- Intro;

- The importance of knowing your numbers;

- Using data to forecast future performance;

- Evaluating processes and the value of time over money;

- Sales & Marketing in plain English;

- Conversation rate and required activity;

- Referrals are king;

- Building a job pipeline;

- Grow slowly or lose quality;

- Onboard the team with the process;

- Putting a value on your time;

- Time as a cost;

- Finances in plain English;

- Producing consistent great customer experiences;

- Final words;

- Outro.

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December 30, 2020

06: Designing Your Dream Bathroom with Catherine Kirwan

Design is not only making your bathroom look beautiful but also ensuring it is a functional space for everyday. It is as much as creating as it is problem-solving. This episode we have a special guest, Interior Design Consultant Catherine Kirwan (Coco Republic, Max Sparrow, Thomas Hamel & Associates & Novalé Bathrooms) who explains how she helps her clients not just 'like' their new bathrooms, but "love" them too.


Join Steve, Ben & Catherine as they discuss the role of an interior designer, the design-client relationship, the design process and much more.


Episode Notes:

- Intro;

- Catherine's beginnings into interior design;

- Should you go to school to learn design?

- Interior designing for leading furniture companies;

- Catherine's entry into interior design for bathrooms;

- The difference between interior designing & decorating;

- Catherine's design process with a client;

- Design is creative problem solving of functional spaces;

- Designing around technical limitations;

- Look and feel over price for the PC items;

- Understanding the clients' needs and being guided by that;

- The value of hiring a designer;

- Designing for resale or for yourself;

- Final words;

- Outro;

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December 10, 2020

05: The Value of a Great Supplier with Fred Hawach (from Reece Group)

When you start your business you're going to need to decide on which suppliers you work with. This will require you to recognize great suppliers that will enhance your business and create mutually beneficial relationships. But how do you know the value of a supplier? And when you do, how can you maximise the value of that relationship?

Join Ben, Steve and Fred Hawach from Reece to find out.


Episode notes:

- Intro

- Fred's bio and how he started working for Reece

- What does Reece do?

- How Reece Group has been a premier supplier in bathroom renovations for 100 years;

- Communication is the key in a supplier relationship

- Delivering on time & well

- The Reece product range and customer experience;

- The importance of value and price;

- How Reece is thinking ahead;

- Closing words

- Outro

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November 8, 2020

04: Quality Assurance & Compliance with Bryan Dunlop

To delivery quality consistently and safely, you need someone to check all the processes to ensure the system is working. Whether that's mitigating risk in a pre-worksite audit, keeping up with new regulations or undergoing ISO accreditation, quality assurance & compliance is the role that will keep your business up to standard and running optimally.

Join Ben Le with our first podcast guest Bryan Dunlop from Novalé Bathrooms discussing QA & Compliance.


Episode Notes:

- Intro:

- Bryan's beginnings in carpentry, estimation and home building;

- Transition into bathroom renovations;

- The role of quality assurance and compliance;

- The day-day operations of the role;

- Main challenges of the role - getting people to buy-in, positives over the negatives;

- Having high-performance standards & ISO accreditation;

- QA & Compliance in the industry;

- How to be quality assured and compliant in an unregulated industry;

- Regulations and frameworks;

- Major regulatory bodies;

- Keeping up with regulations;

- QA and Compliance in Novalé & expectations;

- Impact of high performance standards in Novalé;

- Getting team to buy-in;

- Business licensing and insurance;

- Subcontractor or Employee? How to distinguish and choose;

- ISO Accreditation;

- How can new businesses improve their QA & Compliance?

- Final words;

- Outro.

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October 25, 2020

03: Delivering Quality in Your Trade Business Operations

Managing operations effectively is a crucial element in running your business. From optimising projects, job scheduling, building capacity to using metrics to plan ahead, operations have many facets that require discipline and hard work to deliver maximum quality.

Join Ben Le and Steve Novkovic as they discuss how to achieve delivering quality in operations.


Episode Notes:

- Intro;

- What is quality? How does Novalé define quality?;

- Quality in the early days of Novalé;

- Bathroom Renovators vs. Bathroom Builders;

- The build process of a typical bathroom renovation;

- Homeowner's Warranty Insurance;

- 5 week planning stage;

- Pre-worksite audit;

- Project management and risk mitigation;

- Strategic management: job scheduling, capacity, job pipeline etc.

- Customer: importance of referrals, customer experience;

- Quality over profits;

- Home site etiquette;

- Communicating quality in price;

- Final words;

- Outro.


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September 19, 2020

02: Building Your Trade Business Team Right

Once you have started your business and it is up and running, most chances are that the next step is building a team. But first, how do you know who to look for, what qualities should you prioritise as well as where is the best talent for your business?

Join Ben Le and Steve Novkovic from Novalé Bathrooms discuss the best ways to build an effective long term team.


Episode Notes:

- Intro;

- Steve's team at the beginning of Novalé;

- Recruiting through channels other than friends and family;

- The importance of attitude and values over talent;

- Identifying outstanding talent vs. red flags;

- Negotiating wages and salaries;

- Training and nurturing talent;

- Hire slow, fire slow;

- Training program at Novalé;

- Supporting the team;

- Rewarding great work;

- Building the best team culture;

- Final words;

- Outro.

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August 31, 2020

01: Your Trade Business Starts With Transparency

Starting a business involves many things, but the most important is being honest and transparent. Understanding who you are, trusting and building trust in others and setting clear expectations with yourself and others in all aspects leads to better relationships, experiences and overall business.

Join Ben Le  & Steve Novkovic from Novalé Bathrooms discuss the many impacts of transparency has on bathroom renovations and the business in general.


Episode Notes:

- Intro

- Why Steve wanted to start a podcast;

- Steve's beginnings as a tiler and transition to bathroom renovations;

- Why transparency and expectations are important for the customer;

- Transparency and the value in pricing & scope of works;

- How transparency helps the team members on-site;

- Transparency in reporting progress - the PM Tool;

- Transparency and documenting processes;

- Final words;

- Outro;


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Starting on yourJourney

Get in touch with the friendly team at Novalé Bathrooms today, to see how we can turn your bathroom renovation dream into reality.